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A new book about Father Damien in Spanish (Brs)

   In 2009, the year of the canonization of Damien, a book entitled "De Geest van Damiaan" (Uitgeverij Lannoo) was published, written in Dutch by the Flemish historian and journalist Jan De Volder, linked with the Community of Sant'Egidio. It has been translated into English (Ignatius Press, 2010) and Italian (San Paolo, 2010). Now it is also available in Spanish.

   Jan De Volder, a historian and journalist, fellow countryman of the apostle of the lepers, gives us the opportunity to delve into the human and spiritual landscape that surrounded the life of Damien of Molokai. We helps us to delve into the feelings and choices of the Belgian missionary; he pores with particular intensity on the spirit of the personage, what he lived and felt, constantly transmitting the passion animating the existence of the priest who, since childhood had admired the figure of St. Francis Xavier who inspired his missionary work.

   A characteristic style of this writer is that he does not linger in describing the scenery of the land of origin of the saint, or of the Hawaiian Islands. It seems that he wanted to opt for showing us the spiritual landscape of the missionary priest, able to face the harsh reality of the patients who themselves were slowly disintegrating.

   With a clear, current, agile and journalistic language, De Volder allows us to share in the adventure of Father Damien, while at the same time, as a historian, places the reader at the beginning of the XXI century, with the different meaningful coordinates surrounding the heroic deeds of Jozef De Veuster. He presents him in his historical and ecclesial context, trying to get to the bottom, to the spirit that moved him, which is the love of God, the Christian and missionary vocation and the charism of the Sacred Hearts. He does not remain, thankfully, in Damian the social worker, servant of humanity, but goes to Damian the religious. Maybe it would have been worthwhile to give more attention to the value of adoration and the Eucharist, which was the real source of his life.

   This biography, which comes to light after the canonization of Saint Damien, brings us even closer to the extraordinary personality of the Belgian missionary, thanks to De Volder professional research done in several lines, taking on from the most recognized biographies to the official documents originated from the long process that led Damien to the altar. Furthermore, the Belgian journalist has contacted people who have been instrumental in this process who possess reliable information, such as Father Angel Lucas, postulator for many years of the cause of Father Damien, or the managers of the archives of Damien Center of Leuven, and the Archives of the General House of the Sacred Hearts in Rome.

   The author handles Damian's letters skillfully, just as he inserts other personages such as Gandhi, Raul Follerau, Sister Emmanuelle, or Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, among others, who are closely linked to the name of the saint of the disinherited. Reading these pages, one will find questions and answers, will be questioned and will have a broader overview of the inner face of Father Damien.

   From there, one only need to get into the "Complete Letters", which have recently been compiled and are constantly quoted by De Volder. At the same time, the author makes reference in his book to the movies and websites linked to the protagonist of this story.

   Note: The book is published by San Pablo in Spain. So far, not for sale in Latin America, but can be purchased through the website of St. Paul:

   If you want a significant amount of copies, it can be ordered from the sales center of San Pablo(ventas@sanpablo.es). Hopefully later the book will be on sale in bookstores in Latin America.